Monday 22 March 2010

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Pages: 341
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date: 4th March 2010

‘They say that when you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.’

Sam Kingston is dead.
Except she isn’t.

On a rainy February night, eighteen-year-old Sam is killed in a horrific car crash. But then the impossible happens: she wakes up in her own bed, on the morning of the day she died.

Forced to live over and over the last day of her life - the drive to school, skipping class, the fateful party - she desperately struggles to alter the outcome, but every morning she wakes up on the day of the crash.

This is a story of a girl who dies young, but in the process learns how to live.
And who falls in love…a little too late.

Before I Fall is a brave and complex novel about the territory between life and death. As astonishing as The Lovely Bones and as luminous as Jenny Downham’s Before I Die, it will make you want to live every day as if it were your last.

The beautifully written Before I Fall has taken the blogosphere by storm, and though it didn’t blow me away, I completely understand why.

Reams of glowing reviews and five-star ratings gave me incredibly high expectations for Before I Fall. the type of expectations that very few books would be able to meet. And, unfortunately, Before I Fall didn’t quite make them. But saying that, it’s still one of the best books that I’ve read this year.

Lots of bloggers have said in their reviews that they didn’t like Sam, and for the first chapter or so, I agreed with them. But then I realised that it wasn’t her that I disliked but her actions. As the layers of Sam’s life and personality were peeled away, a very normal girl was exposed. A girl desperate to remain popular, to fit in, to hide her dorky past. And I felt like she was telling ME her story. For my benefit and to teach me not to make her mistakes. But not in a preachy way at all.

If you hadn’t heard much about Before I Fall (where have you been?!), but found out that Sam relived the same day over and over again, you could mistakenly think that it would be boring. But you couldn’t be further from the truth. I was fascinated by how the smallest change could have such dramatic consequences. It made me think of all the hundreds of thoughtless decisions I make everyday and wonder how different my life could be. But that line of thinking could make a girl crazy, so we won’t go there!

Regardless of how I felt about Before I Fall not quite meeting my expectations, the love story blew me away. It’s beautiful, tender and utterly heart-rending. The way that Kent saw through Sam’s defences and looked out for her over the variations of the day never failed to make me smile like an idiot. But it was Sam’s eventual realisation of her feelings for Kent that I really loved. Her surprise at wanting to be around him, her growing disdain for Rob and the giddiness of her feelings for him made their story so real that I couldn’t help getting emotionally involved. Which is why I cried, like the sap that I am, at the completely unexpected and heart-breaking ending.

I have a feeling that Lauren Oliver is going to be around for a really long time and I can’t wait to read her next offering, Delirium.



  1. Awesome review! Now I'm even more excited to get my hands on Before I Fall!

  2. I'm curious about this book. Very interesting.

  3. Wow, what a great review! Glad to hear you enjoyed the book, but I'm guessing the reason why it didn't live up to your very high expectations is because of all the hype - when I read it months ago, there were no reviews and I wasn't expecting much so I was truly blown away! Anyway, I agree, Lauren Oliver is here to stay and I also cannot wait for Delirium!

  4. I'm the same as Bookalicious - when I first read it last year, there were no reviews and no hype, so I was completely gobsmacked when I'd finished it. I had no expectations, which I think was probably better.

    Great review though, Soph - I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  5. Excellent thoughts on this book. I have yet to read it but I am looking forward to doing so.

  6. Lovely review! I want this sooooooo badly :) x

  7. Thank you for this wonderful review. You know something... I'm really glad you said what you did in the first paragraph, and I'm grateful for these comments, too. I might try really hard to clear my mind of all the 5-star reviews before reading this. :)
    It sounds amazing and I loved your review.

  8. Interesting and thoughtful review, and I'm kind of sorry for adding to the hype that raised your expectations so high. There's definitely something about discovering you love an un-hyped book that you can't really replicate when you read something that everyone's raving about. Glad you liked it on the whole though, and I absolutely agree about the love story and the ending.

  9. I think the general consensus is that this book is amazing-great review!

  10. Great review! I'm continueing to read awesome reviews of this book - really makes me want to read it!

    You have an award here, btw! :)


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